A Masorti (Conservative) synagogue in Netanya has been vandalized on four occasions this month, with windows smashed and other property damaged in the building.Problems began for the Bet Israel Synagogue when a banner it had posted on its property in April, advertising its monthly musical havdala service, was torn down.Some three weeks later on May 4, sometime after the Friday night Shabbat service, vandals threw rocks and bricks through the windows of the synagogue’s front doors, smashing three large panes of glass.Two days later, teenagers entered the synagogue, ran up to the first floor, knocked over and damaged a water cooler flooding the floor, and knocked over a sculpture.Then on Wednesday May 9 that same week, synagogue members attending morning services discovered that the vandals had returned and smashed the windows of the front doors which had been repaired after the initial incident.And just this past Shabbat, a separate glass door was also smashed sometime Friday night.The door has yet to be repaired since the synagogue is reluctant to spend money fixing it only to have it broken again in short order. According to synagogue members Suzanne and Howard Goodman, the police were called on every occasion but only turned up after the first time the doors were smashed.Howard Goodman, who is a member of the synagogue board, said that many members have reported feeling scared and vulnerable by the attacks, believing that they are motivated by the fact that the synagogue is a Masorti institution, one of only two non-Orthodox synagogues in the city.“We don’t understand why we are the target of this senseless destruction,” said Susan Goodman.“Our building is used for community functions such as dancing lessons and English language lessons for Russian children. Most of our members are olim and immigrants from Russian.Many of us experienced loss in the Shoah.We came to Israel to escape persecution and to practice and live our Jewish faith. It is hard to believe that this is happening to us in Israel – and probably [being done] by our fellow Jews.”
The Sharon district police, when asked to comment, said that an investigation has been opened and that the incidents are being examined.